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INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY                                    17
and from the ovule to the ripe seed, are all essential points;
all, however minute, must in many cases be actually inspected
before the position of a doubtful genus can bo ascertained in
the Natural System; and this is not the exception, but the rule.
The necessity for acquiring so extensive and detailed a
knowledge indicates a power of variation in those organs from
which the natural characters are drawn, that defeats any at-
tempt to render one, or a few_of them only, available for the
purposes of classification; and hence it is that the study of
morphology, or the homologies of the organs, becomes indis-
pensable to the systciuatist: by this he reduces all anomalies
to a common type, tests the valut of elraracters, and develops
ne\y affinities. The. number, form, and relative positions of
organs may supply technical characters, by whieh observers of
experience recognize those natural orders under \\hieh a great
uumber of plants arrange themselves; but a knowledge of
structure and anatomy alone enable the hot jurist to progress
beyond this, and to define rigidly: uhil-t the study of deve-
lopment affords him sale principles upon Mhieh to Msterna-
tisso and deteet affinities, and morphology supplies the means
of testing the value of the results, ami reveals the harmony
that veigns throughout the \vholv vegetable world.
Physiology, again, is a branch of botany very much apart
from these: its aim is the noblest of all, being the elucidation
of tlu* laus that regulate the \Iial functions of plants. The
botanical student of the present day, ho\\evcr, is too oil en
taught to think that getting up the obscure-awl disputed spe-
culative- details of physiology, is the most useful elementnn
information luu'uu obtain during the short period that is given
him to devote to botany*; and that, if to this he adds the
* As we arc writing hi the hope of being useful to om* medical Invlhreu
timotifpt othcre, wo ma) be exeunt from remarking IiJre, that it w m>t to ilie
cnkilit of on*1 wu'ilii*al t'lunicuhun, Ilml, travel \vluTC\vo will, w* Uwl Uu* niotlical
wau (U^ilufhtg'lti)* inability (o rt^plv tlu1 knoxvlwl^of botany obiainotl at lnV
MHo^i, to m\y useful jmr^iso, Tluv liltle lo bus lo;tnK*d )M>II! tbo >utnus tl
fmii*lion of organs he wijjht t*aily hnvc tMHjiiiwl at wluwl, mul tlm** Imve Ik^ti
the \vhoK* |H*H<1 of his hotaiiuiil whiclus ta Uu*